Dr. Levine

It Takes a Village

All babies cry.  They eat, sleep, pee, poop, and cry.  But knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to listen to your own child upset.  While bringing a new baby into your home always comes with challenges, having a baby that cries excessively truly makes it even harder.  It doesn’t matter if it’s your first child or your third, when you have a child that is difficult to soothe, feelings of frustration, sadness, and even guilt are common.

Colic or ‘colicky’ symptoms can begin as early as two weeks of life, peak around six to eight weeks, but usually resolve by four months of life.  Often times the crying begins in the early evening hours, just as you are feeling tired at the end of a long, demanding day.  We don’t know exactly what causes colic, but some experts believe that certain young babies have difficulty self-soothing and therefore are not always comforted by the usual means of feeding, holding, and rocking.

I often tell parents in my office, “Sometime it just takes a village.”  I encourage them to utilize the village around them.  Enlist of the help of friends, neighbors, and family.  It doesn’t make you a bad or an inadequate parent to need a break from a crying baby who is difficult to calm.  It’s amazing how meaningful a short break of even an hour during the ‘witching period’ can be.  Go for a brisk walk or take a bubble bath.  Read a magazine.  All you may need is a relaxing quiet escape from the crying.  You will return refreshed, less frustrated, and better able to handle the rest of the evening.

There are so many opportunities for parents to feel guilty when raising their children.  I like to remind parents that sometimes to be the best parent you can be, you need a little distance, a little break.  Knowing what you need and when to ask for help is much more important than striving to be a ‘super parent.’ In the end, you win and your child wins too.

Your Comments

Whoa, We see this all day everyday. My last ceilnt just came in with that complaint.Signs MAY OR MAY NOT be, vomiting, spitting up, rashes, or skin breakouts, eczema. However, b/c most babies do one or all of the above, it is not necessarily a symptom of an allergy .And if allergies do occur, many grow out of it by the time they are as young as 6 months to as long as 7 years old (per research). A true milk allergy or even lactose intolerance is diagnosed with tests and examinations which are NOT DONE on infants. Many doctors will just switch formulas (which I hate) until they find the right one can you say: An expensive headache?MOST doctors will diagnose either one based on trial and error and response to the different formulas which is funny because I have had babies on Alimentum (for milk protein allergies-which is something in its true form ..MANY USUALLY DO NOT grow out of) with the above diagnosis, only to have them a 1 year gobbling down milk like a pro with no problems!Its trial and error, because allergy tests are not usually done on infants .I would breastfeed if you can because allergies to the breastmilk is rare .If the baby is allergic to certain foods mom eats, and breaks out from the breastmilk, mom can just eliminate those foods ..Best of luck and blessings to you.
3/14/2012 10:52:42 PM

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Dr. Levine

Dr. Alanna Levine is a New York based pediatrician and a mom of two children.